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House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was colombia.

Topics

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the people who live in Ajax—Pickering know that our country has the best fiscal situation in the G7. We have the highest credit rating in the G7. We have the soundest financial system. We will have the strongest growth in the G7 not only this year but next year. The people who live in Ajax—Pickering know this well and they can find a replacement for the current member.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives inherited that situation and they are working hard to blow it. While the government hides behind security and tourism to justify blowing $1 billion for a fake lighthouse, a fake lake and other waste, it hides behind a security firm that is not even licensed to work the summits. It has no approval to work in Ontario.

At the same time the Conservatives spin this total mess, they have ignored real security concerns. While they were busy blowing $1 billion, they said no to a $50 million tax credit that would have safeguarded stocks of ammonium nitrate, 1,500 kilograms of which is now missing.

Why could the Conservatives not divert some of this waste to real priorities and protect Canadians instead of just themselves?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the safety and security of Canadians is of the utmost importance to this government, yet that member continually denies we have security problems in the country. That is why we are spending money to ensure that our communities are safe and that we have the best plans in place for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits.

We understand there is a police investigation going on, led by the Niagara Regional Police Service. The RCMP is providing assistance as requested and we will be kept informed of development as the investigation continues.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister plans to talk about fiscal restraint at the G8 and G20 summits. But no one would say he is leading by example. First, he had a theme pavilion built for the foreign media at a cost of $1.9 million. Then he had a fake lake built just steps from Lake Ontario. Finally, he paid the modest sum of $400,000 to restore an old steamboat that will be ready months after the summits.

Does the Prime Minister realize that this charade is totally ridiculous?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canada has the healthiest public finances in the western world. We have the lowest deficit of any major developed country. It is true that we are spending $2 million on a pavilion to promote Canadian tourism, and we have strong support from that very important Canadian industry.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, to justify this frivolous spending, the Prime Minister says that the G8 and G20 summits will serve as a showcase to attract foreign tourists to Canada.

Does he really think he is going to attract tourists with a fake lake, cardboard decorations and stuffed moose? Is he not afraid that foreign journalists will see this as just a plain old bear trap?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the G20 summit, which will bring thousands of influential guests from different parts of the world, is an excellent opportunity to promote Canadian tourism. We have the support of the Ontario and Canadian tourism industry. I am well aware that the Bloc does not want to promote Canada.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, when they were in opposition, the Conservatives railed against the Liberals' waste and patronage. They promised to change things. By buying themselves an artificial lake and flooding the Minister of Industry's riding with projects that have nothing to do with the G8 and G20, they are proving that they are capable, like the Liberals, of the worst abuses and excesses.

Will the government admit that its only concern is to buy the re-election of the Minister of Industry and certainly not to keep spending associated with holding the G8 and G20 meetings under control?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have funded infrastructure projects in every region of our country with our economic action plan. Investments in infrastructure and municipalities create jobs. That is the case in Quebec City and in Muskoka; that is the case everywhere. We are very proud of the 300,000 new jobs created in Canada over the past year. And we are not finished; a great deal of work remains to be done.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, under the guise of good management, the government requires community groups and festivals, even the smallest festivals, to submit solid business plans to obtain even very meagre grants.

What would have been the government's response if an association had submitted a project to organize an international conference with an artificial lake beside a real lake, with cardboard scenery, virtual surroundings, a steamboat that would be ready after the event, and bear-proof garbage cans?

What would have been the government's response? Once again, with the Conservatives, there is a double standard: do as I say, not as I do.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that much of the cost of the G8 and G20 events is due to security. A tiny portion of the cost is for the promotion of not just Ontario, but also Canada. We are proud to be welcoming all these people who will spread the good news about Canada throughout the world.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal-Conservative coalition were working together against the public interest.

They authorized the sale of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. They initiated the privatization of Canada Post. They cleaned out the surplus in the employment insurance fund, authorizing the theft of $57 billion from the pockets of workers.

Is the Prime Minister proud of having endorsed the $57 billion theft by the Liberals?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have only one question: if the leader of the NDP thinks such terrible things about the Liberals and is accusing them of working with us, why does he want to form a coalition with them?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Liberal-Conservative coalition rammed through its 100th confidence motion. Normally we would ask that it at least get a marriage certificate after that, but the Prime Minister got his misguided budget through, thanks to the coalition of the unwilling. What else will this group support? The privatization of the CBC, an extension of the war in Afghanistan? What is next for the coalition?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP denounces the Liberal Party, which I suppose is a noble cause, but at the same time as he is denouncing the Liberal Party, he is secretly having negotiations to form the coalition with him. I wish he would make up his mind.

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really do not need to take lessons in secrecy from the specialists.

Billions are being spent on fake lakes and bloated security, while Canada's first nations deal with the crisis of housing, education and health care. Aboriginal communities in Canada have a tuberculosis rate 35 times higher than non-aboriginal Canadians, suicide 11 times higher than the national average and 19% of our inmates are aboriginal.

Will the government at least put as much effort into that as it has in protecting the banks?

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, the government has taken strong action on this. One of the things we will discuss at the G8 is the child and maternal health initiative, which I note has been strongly supported by many international parties this week.

At the same time, I go back, and this is just really the blindness of the NDP. We are not protecting the Canadian banks. We are protecting the Canadian economy.

We are not going to have an economy that is forced to pay for bailouts that happened in other countries. We are standing up for Canada. The leader of the NDP should at least learn to stand up for the things—

Jobs and Economic Growth ActOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the government to disclose the full extent of this huge waste of money, which Canadians of all political stripes find scandalous.

When will the Conservatives reveal the total cost of these summits? When will they disclose the whole budget to Canadians? Canadians have the right to know where their money was spent. When will we get a detailed budget?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I said, most of the costs are associated with security-related expenses. Some of the money will be spent on promoting our country. Most importantly, however, all of these expenses, all of that money was budgeted, and that party supported our budget yesterday.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, they say that “Lake Waste” will cost just $57,000, but we know that is not true. That $57,000 is for the plastic pool liner and the water to fill it. Their sneaky accounting leaves out all kinds of associated costs: design and construction of the fake lake and the giant screen hanging over it.

When will the Conservatives confess to the true cost of their fake campground?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have been very open and transparent about our intention to promote our country. We will create ways to show Canada off to the world, and we will do that in the short time we have. Three thousand media people, a huge number of delegates and TV viewers around the world will see Canada at its best, and our government will make sure that happens.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have gone from amazement, to shock, to anger over the Conservatives' billion dollar summits. There is even a contest now to name the fake lake. What would we call it? We have heard the “blue lagoon” or “lake waste” or the “excess pool”.

Given how angry Canadians are, how about we use the phrase coined by a truly great Canadian and call it the “fuddle duddle puddle”, or we could call it exactly what it is. We can call it “lake how in the hell can a country with rising poverty rates squander a billion dollars on a meeting”.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again, as I indicated, a majority of these costs are going to security, the security initiatives, for the purpose of protecting the people who are here. An amount of the money will be provided to promote our country to ensure that those people who come to Canada will be able to see Canada. At the same time, those who are viewers and spectators will be able to see Canada under that light.

I have a suggestion. If he is looking for a name for the lake, why does he not call it “lake Gomery”.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is getting absolutely bizarre. We have learned now that the Conservatives are selling off real lighthouses in Canada, including the famous Peggy's Cove lighthouse, but it is full steam ahead for fake lighthouses to guard the G20 fake lake. Real lighthouses, we do not want that. Fake lighthouses, go to the head of the line. It is like a skit out of Monty Python, except it is not funny.

Governments make choices. How can this one choose to spend billions of dollars on a weekend when child poverty rates are on the rises, people line up at food banks and people are worried about their pensions?